What clouds your success?

I posted this picture today on my social media accounts (ignore the bed head and workout clothes!): 
I found this jacket on a clearance rack last night at the mall. I had been looking for a blazer and was SO excited to find this deal for just $15 at one of my favorite clothing stores. Not only does it fit me perfectly, but I also have the matching pants AND it is THREE SIZES SMALLER THAN WHAT I WAS WEARING LAST AUGUST. I was pretty psyched about the deal AND the success!
That jacket post prompted me to do a updated before/now progress post. Working to create the healthiest version of yourself isn’t always easy- especially when you have a belly, a booty, rolls, or anything else that you (or society) associates with being “a fat person”. Those associations can really cloud your perception of the hard work you are putting in, the strength you have gained, the progress you have made, and the passion you have for taking care of yourself and your health.
You see yourself in the mirror everyday and don’t always notice positive changes because they are clouded by all of those judgements and associations that we carry with us. It’s not until you try on something that you once thought was too small and it fits, decide to run on the treadmill and realize that your knees aren’t hurting, or look at old pictures as a comparison and realize that things ARE, in fact, changing.
I especially struggle with the belly “cloud”. I look at my body in the mirror and immediately focus on my belly- how far it sticks out, how many rolls it has, etc.- completely negating EVERYTHING else that has changed (like legs, hips, face, neck, shoulders, waist, arms). One view of my belly in the mirror can make me lose that glow in my face that eating healthy and exercising has helped me develop. It can stop me in my tracks on the treadmill at the gym and make me doubt myself and my abilities. It can make me feel self-conscious while dressed up and out on the town, or with my husband at home. I have to consciously make a decision to give myself visual, verbal, and physical reminders that I’m on the right path for me, and that what my belly looks like is NOT the only success indicator. I cannot let one fixation with a body part cloud my truth. And I challenge you to do the same.
When you get discouraged with those dreaded numbers on the scale, or by fixating on those triggers that make you doubt yourself and your hard work when you look in the mirror, I encourage you to look deeper- look at the other parts of your body that are changing. Pay attention to how you FEEL. Notice the changes in energy, endurance, and strength. Look beyond that one spot that causes you frustration, and celebrate all of the changes that come with the decision you have made to prioritize your health, fitness, and well-being.
When we see this path of working towards our healthiest self as a life long journey, instead of a “quick fix”, “a diet”, or a temporary “phase” in our lives, we begin see how what we eat, how we move, the relationships we keep, and what our inner voice sounds like, all fuel us to be strong, healthy, happy, confident, and comfortable in our own skin. If you decide to love yourself now, belly and all, the successes that come next, as you begin to make changes to your daily habits and routines, are going to improve, enhance, and strengthen that love.
And when we truly, deeply love ourselves no matter what, when setbacks happen (and they will), we will be able to bounce back and stay on the path, because we know how to provide support and encouragement within ourselves to keep moving forward.
xoxo Steph
PS- The picture on the left was taken at my bridal shower last March (2017). The picture on the right was taken today (without the jacket). I was deliriously happy and in love then (with life, with my soon to be husband, with myself), and am still deliriously happy and in love now…but x100.